Kelly Newberry Guerra

Kelly Newberry (photo by Zach Mendez)
Graduate Student




Peruvian-American mezzo-soprano Kelly Guerra, most recently was noted as a "standout" in the Wall Street Journal for her performance at the Tanglewood Music Center as Mrs. Doc in Leonard Bernstein's A Quiet Place, conducted by Stefan Asbury and directed by Peter Kazaras. In 2018 she also won first place in Santa Barbara’s Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation competition. Spring 2020, Kelly will premiere Cantata for 3 Voices and Orchestra by Katherine Balch with the California Symphony. Kelly also looks forward to singing the role of Stephano in Roméo et Juliette, as part of her engagement as a Chrisman Studio Artist with Opera Santa Barbara.

Kelly has been featured at the Tanglewood Music Center, Lucerne Festival and the Bard Music Festival, and has performed with a variety of ensembles including the Albany Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, Garden State Philharmonic, The Orchestra Now, Contemporaneous, Opera Parallèle and BluePrint.

Spring 2018, Guerra "created a sensation" (BravoCalifornia) singing the role of Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro directed by soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian and conducted by Opera Santa Barbara’s Kostis Protopapas.  Spring 2017 Kelly was the alto soloist in BWV 78 with the Albany Symphony, under the baton of David Alan Miller, and sang Second Lady (Die Zauberflöte) with the group in 2015. That same season, Kelly premiered the orchestral version of Animal Tales (Goldfish) with the Garden State Philharmonic and Ardea Arts, led by Anthony LaGruth and Grethe Barrett Holby. In the summer of 2016, Kelly sang at the Bard Music Festival as a recitalist in a special program curated by Byron Adams. Also in the summer of 2016 Kelly was invited to the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland to participate in a special project of women composers, in which she sang the Carlos Drummond de Andrade Stories by Maria Schneider, conducted by the composer herself. One of Kelly’s favorite performances, under the direction of Dawn Upshaw and Nicholas Muni, Kelly starred as Jennie The Sealyham Terrier in a National Opera Association award-winning production of Oliver Knussen’s Higglety Pigglety Pop! at the Bard College Conservatory of Music. At the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Kelly sang in performances of the Baroque operas Xerxes (Amastre) and Agrippina (Narciso), led by noted harpsichordist, conductor, and American Bach Soloists faculty member, Corey Jamason.  Other roles Kelly has studied include Jo March (Little Women), Dorabella (Cosí fan tutte), Cendrillon (Cendrillon), and Charlotte (Werther). 

A graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Kelly is a recipient of the Vocal Excellence award. Kelly holds a master’s degree from the Bard College Conservatory’s Vocal Arts Program, where her closest mentors were Dawn Upshaw and the late Sanford Sylvan. Kelly is in candidacy for her DMA at the University of California Santa Barbara. Her dissertation will be about Peruvian-American composer Gabriela Lena Frank, who is writing the opera El último sueño de Frida y Diego for Dallas Fort-Worth opera, to be premiered in 2021. Kelly is a student of Isabel Bayrakdarian. For more information, please go to ~June 2019~